Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Haftar has been appointed as head of the Libyan national army, according to a lawmaker at the internationally recognized parliament on Monday.
Parliament Speaker Aqila Issa promoted Haftar and named him as the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, said lawmaker Tarik al-Geroushi.
Local media reported that Hafter has taken the post of the army’s chief of staff or the general commander, but there was no official confirmation except from the House of Representatives.
Haftar, who played a major role in toppling former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been waging a war on Libya’s Islamist armed groups since last May.
His secular-leaning militias, now incorporated into the Libyan national army, are seen as the backbones of Libya’s internationally recognized government and parliament, now operating in Tobruk, a port city in northeast Libya.
In the eastern part of the country, Hafter has amassed popular support by battling “terrorists” and extremist groups. In the west, his fighters are confronting the local Islamist alliance Libya Dawn, who occupied the capital city of Tripoli and established a rival government and parliament.
Libya has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence after the 2011 turmoil which toppled Muammar Gaddafi. The Islamist militants and pro-secular militia have been vying for cities and towns for months, and fighting still flares near Tripoli, Benghazi and Gharyan. Enditem